Travelers returning to trips following the pandemic are taking longer vacations, making plans on their own and taking new lessons with them. According to the Global Rescue Spring 2023 Traveler Sentiment and Safety Survey, one out of four of the world’s most experienced travelers will take longer trips in 2023 than in the past. Less than 10% of respondents said they would take shorter trips while the majority (65%) said their trips will be about the same as in the past, neither shorter nor longer.
“Travelers are making up for lost time due to the pandemic. Despite higher prices and flight disruptions, people are not only scheduling trips for 2023 but many are planning longer ones,” said Dan Richards, CEO of The Global Rescue Companies, the leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services, and a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Travelers revealed their biggest bungles and lessons learned when traveling. More than a third of respondents (35.18%) said overpacking was their biggest travel mistake. Overpacking is a persistent traveler mistake, but the improvement has been substantial since COVID-19. In February 2020, immediately before the pandemic, three-out-of-four respondents said overpacking was the biggest mistake travelers make.
Harding Bush, senior manager of operations at Global Rescue, advises travelers to “pack light, and buy what you need there.” Pat Pendergast, The Fly Shop’s director of international travel, suggests travelers “make a list of all the items you packed but never used and then use that list to guide how you pack for future trips.”
Failing to plan free time in a travel itinerary is the second biggest mistake among travelers, although, like overpacking, improvement since the pandemic is striking. According to the survey results, 28% of respondents said not planning and scheduling free time was their second biggest mistake. Three years ago, before the pandemic, 40% of respondents admitted to creating ambitious itineraries that did not include free time.
The third biggest mistake listed among travelers is assuming that the laws of your country travel with you. Eleven percent noted this as a lesson all travelers should know. “The laws of your home country don’t travel with you. That’s why knowing the local laws of the destination(s) is critical before traveling,” Richards said.
As more people return to travel, most of them are relying on a mix of resources to plan their itineraries. Less than a fifth of respondents (17%) use a travel agent. Only three percent use full-service, one-stop online resources – like Kayak, Expedia and Travelocity – for flights, hotels and auto rentals. Nearly a third of respondents (31%) use multiple online resources for each part of a trip. The majority of travelers (46%) do it by themselves with a mix of direct phone calls, online resources and email.
“Travelers are increasingly looking for travel customization at every level from the moment they leave home until they return. At the same time, the pandemic pushed people to become more reliant on online services. The combination of those two factors has driven travelers to do more self-guided travel planning,” Richards said.